Setting A Friendly Tone At Your Garage Sale

Want to attract more customers to your garage sale? Try these tips to create a comfortable environment for your shoppers.

Hosting a garage sale is more than putting saleable goods on display. You need to create a comfortable atmosphere that will help customers enjoy browsing and buying. A relaxed environment will hold visitors and bring them back with referrals to others.

1. Make an attractive arrangement of goods. Use several tables and shelves covered in clean cloths on which to display your merchandise. Sweep the garage first, including walls, and replace faulty lighting. Allow walking space between tables so customers can comfortably browse the entire area. You may want to set up displays so that as customers walk through, they will end up at the checkout area near you or whoever is monitoring the cash box.

2. Use clearly printed signs that tell the price of everything. Add details or explanations about items for which customers may have questions. Use good directions in your ad to steer customers to your location. Intelligent, thoughtful directions and descriptions assure customers that you are a vendor worth patronizing, someone who knows and cares about customers' needs and questions.

3. Play a radio or music CD for background noise. Customers who come as a family or group of friends may want to discuss an object before purchasing it. Background noise allows them to do this confidentially without being heard, raising their confidence level in your allowing them to do so. A small television, CD player, or radio will work.

4. Have a toy or two for the kiddies. Letting little ones play with a truck or doll or take away something free will make a good impression on parents. It need not be valuable; a used coloring book with several blank pages left may be exciting for a three-year-old. You may even want to set a bin of freebies inside the garage with a sign so that customers will walk past the regular items to get to it, and perhaps find something they like on the way.

5. Keep your pets locked up. You don't want Fido jumping all over the guests or barking them away. Nor do you want Fluffy leaving cat hair on their trousers. And no one wants to run over your pets while pulling out of a congested parking area. The same goes for toddlers; secure them under a babysitter's watchful eye unless you are confident of keeping them close while negotiating sales.

6. Be willing to dicker. Bargaining is half the fun for some folks. Set your price a tad higher if you don't mind not selling an item. Otherwise, set a moderate fee and go lower per the customer's offer if you really want to get rid of it. Offer some really great bargains for things that don't mean much to you anymore but may hold value for customers.

7. Always be polite, even when people don't buy. Say "Hello" when they arrive and "Thanks for stopping by" when they leave. Don't talk so much to family or friends who are with you that you can't readily answer a customer's questions about an item of interest.

A comfortable environment means customers will stay longer and come back next time. Set a positive tone and make friends while making sales.

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